Steve Antunes ’17 is proof positive that earning a Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.Ac.) degree can jumpstart an accounting or financial planning career.
In June Steve Antunes ’17 landed a position as a certified financial planner at SK Wealth Management, LLC in Providence, crediting his M.P.Ac. from RIC for his advancement.
A native of Swansea, Mass., Antunes earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2006. He worked as an accountant for a few years before turning his sights to becoming a registered investment advisor. In his current position at SK Wealth, Antunes assists clients in all aspects of personal financial planning, including income tax and estate planning, retirement planning, investment allocation and risk management.
Antunes said he sought a M.P.Ac. degree because he wanted a smooth transition from working in corporate finance to managing the wealth of clients.
“The most vital piece of my job is about managing relationships because I’m dealing all day with personal financial information that people share with me,’’ Antunes said. “Therefore, I believe the greatest attributes a financial planner must possess is likeability and a passion for helping people manage their entire financial picture through big events such as retirements, weddings or sending their kids to college.’’
Before pursuing the M.P.Ac. degree, Antunes graduated magna cum laude in RIC’s six-course Certificate in Graduate Studies (C.G.S.) in financial planning program in 2016. His professors encouraged him to continue on to earn the M.P.Ac., noting that he could apply some of the credits he earned by attaining the C.G.S.
Upon completing 18 credit hours for the C.G.S., Antunes was eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner Examination. To earn the M.P.A.c., he completed another 30 credit hours, while also working full-time as a senior finance manager at Citizens Financial Group Inc. in Providence.
Sean Cote, assistant professor of accounting and director of the M.P.Ac. program at RIC, said working professionals like Antunes thrive in the program because of “small classes, where instructors really get to know students and help them excel in the subject matter.’’
To that end, Antunes said he appreciated that his classes included a mix of both working professionals and students aiming to figure out if financial planning was a good fit.
“That produced many great conversations and a lot of camaraderie in terms of the classroom setting,’’ he said.
Faculty in RIC’s program also bring a range of professional experience from companies such as Hasbro and Amica as well as from the banking industry.
Aside from certification in financial planning, Antunes is skilled in Bloomberg market concepts, commodities and the Foreign Exchange.
His advice to students who may contemplate a financial planning future is to engage in networking.
“It’s a tough industry,’’ he said. “However, if you establish contacts and let people know where you are, there are great firms out there looking for talented professionals. I set big expectations for myself with a game plan to get the certificate in financial planning and the master’s degree in two years at RIC.’’
Both the M.P.Ac. and C.G.S. at RIC are registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. For more information about RIC’s M.P.Ac. program, visit here. To learn more about the C.G.S. in financial planning, click here.